Rants and Raves

Troubled Blood – big and entertaining

Troubled Blood by Robert Galbraith

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I picked this up because I saw it on a list of the CWA Ian Fleming Award candidates (along with the Robatham author I had read recently…). I went in blind not knowing anything about the characters or even that the author’s name was a pseudonym – although I found that part out pretty quickly after adding it to Goodreads. But I was trying to avoid spoilers so I tried to avoid seeing anything about the story online.

I usually don’t start at #5 of a series of previously established characters- but that didn’t matter here. Good character depth and really well written.

I was a bit impatient in the middle – it’s a long book – but that’s because a lot of mysteries I read are pulp and I was thinking that this case would be solved quickly. I also read this as an e-book that’s why I wasn’t grasping that this would be that a long tale. But it was worth sticking out.


View all my reviews

July Book Updates

Book updates since the last book related post in September.

I’m not going to list every singe one that I read, but maybe some that you may find interesting. For the full lists of what I’m reading or going through, you can follow me on Goodreads.

Eat a Peach by David Chang Different from what I thought it’d be, but in a good way. Lots of interesting passages about depression, mental health issues and some behind the scenes history about stories which I thought I knew the whole picture.

Atomic Habits – 5 of 5 Stars -I found this very movitvating, especially during Quarantine

Give and Take: A Revolutionary Approach to Success by Adam M. Grant
Interesting and well-written. I’m not sure I’ll do the follow up exercises to check on my personal and/or work profiles yet, but maybe at some point in the future. Looking forward to reading the author’s other work.

Eleanor in the Village: Eleanor Roosevelt’s Search for Freedom and Identity in New York’s Greenwich Village by Jan Jarboe Russell. New perspective and information for me about a chapters in Roosevelt’s life.

Depth Charge – by Jason Heaton – a fun adventure in the spirit of Clive Cussler

Eight Million Ways to Die: A Matthew Scudder Novel. Block really starts painting a clearer picture of Scudder’s addiction.

The Crossing – Harry Bosch #18 from Michael Connelly. I like Bosch ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

American Rule – Jared Yates Sexton – a depressing quick take on America’s uglier side. A quick catchup on how we got to where we are with some “conservative thought”.

A Rage In Harlem – Chester Himes – more noir than I knew existed from an author I should have heard about before.

Morning Pages – Partially Through The Program

I posted on Instagram recently that I had started doing Morning Pages. I was curious if any of my friends had done it too. Thanks for your comments in that post.

Coincidentally- I do think that reading James Clear’s Atomic Habits (or re-reading it recently) was a good motivator to keep me in the Morning Pages “program”. It’s a 12 week committment! I’m at about week 8 or 9 now.

I have gotten in to the daily habit of writing three long hand pages. It’s hard and there are days I don’t want to do it. But it’s oddly addictive and it seems to clear my head out in the mornings.

I’ll write a longer post once I finish. But I’m still interested in your writing habits and practices.

The one thing I do want to add is that I thought I was picky about my pens and paper before, but I’m a million times more attentive to my “gear” now. For example, the journal picture below shows a nice knock-off moleskine type journal that we would give out to guests at our office. But that paper bleeds a bit with certain inks and when you’re trying to write three pages every morning you pick up on it.

Some Book Updates

Here are some titles I’ve gone through since my last update. I’m still doing my alternating cycles of non-fiction then a detective/pulp or other fiction.

A History of America in Ten StrikesA History of America in Ten Strikes by Erik Loomis
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

good history and overview- shows impact right up to today

A good one that turned out to be timely as we are now at Labor Day weekend.

I read this next one a few months ago.

How to Be an AntiracistHow to Be an Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A lot to digest. And a lot of homework for me to be a better ally and an antiracist



A popular and timely book: (well, it shouldn’t need to be timely, but it is). Well-written and thought-provoking.



And here are some of the mysteries:

Devil in a Blue Dress (Easy Rawlins, #1)Devil in a Blue Dress by Walter Mosley
My rating: 5 of 5 stars





I’ve read other Mosley books, but not any of the Easy Rollins series. They were in my “to read” list after watching Luke Cage when it came out on Netflix and they dropped so many interesting titles in references on the show.

A Red Death (Easy Rawlins #2)A Red Death by Walter Mosley
My rating: 3 of 5 stars



Still engaging with the characters.

Lucky at CardsLucky at Cards by Sheldon Lord
My rating: 4 of 5 stars




I think this one was a Lawrence Block title and I breezed through it. Pretty fun pulp. Looking forward to his Scudder series at some point.

And another recommended read:

What I Talk About When I Talk About RunningWhat I Talk About When I Talk About Running by Haruki Murakami
My rating: 5 of 5 stars



Alone : The Classic Polar Adventure – *****

Alone: The Classic Polar Adventure

Alone: The Classic Polar Adventure by Richard Evelyn Byrd

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A relatively quick read and very interesting even though I was worried I wouldn’t like the book’s story (it was a gift). The afterword was a welcome addition which helps provide some historical context and insight after the tale had ended.

I think it was interesting timing that I read this given what is going on in the world right now with Covid-19. In particular, this account of the author being alone in the Antarctic had a few passages that seemed very relevant to today.

eg: being solo and trapped inside and keeping to a schedule -the author was to be taking weather readings at regular times and had to maintain his hut/base- extreme WFH? Even Scott Kelly (astronaut) wrote about this recently in the NY Times.

Another example was a passage about a previous expedition with a healthy crew in isolation, but one day they opened a crate of old clothes and all of them got sick.


View all my reviews

Zero Cool – ****

Another pulp romp. A dangerous dame in Spain. A doctor in over his head. Treasure and treachery…

Turns out this was written by Michael Crichton. I didn’t know Michael Crichton wrote pulp under a pseudonym. It doesn’t surprise me, but I didn’t know.

Decent fun.